- Pfizer and BioNTech this week announced a vaccine that is 90% effective at preventing the coronavirus.
- The clinical trial currently encompasses 43,000 volunteers. Some volunteers received the vaccine while others received a placebo.
- Some of the initial side effects of the vaccine include fever, headache, and fatigue. One volunteer likened the experience to having a “severe hangover” for a brief period.
Back in mid-October, Dr. Osterholm, who heads up the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, warned that the next 6 to 12 weeks “are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”
Nearly three weeks later, Osterholm’s prediction is already coming true as the coronavirus continues to spread at an unprecedented rate across the entire country. Over the last two weeks, the number of coronavirus cases has increased by 69%. Meanwhile, coronavirus related deaths and hospitalizations increased by 36% and 37%, respectively.
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There is, however, cause to be optimistic about finally being able to move past the coronavirus once and for all. This past Monday, noted drugmaker Pfizer delivered a bombshell announcement when it said its coronavirus vaccine is about 90% effective, making it just about as effective as the traditional measles vaccine. The 90% figure is encouraging, to say the least, and is notably higher than the 40-50% efficacy estimation we had been hearing from health experts over the past few months.
Having said that, it remains to be seen if Pfizer’s vaccine causes any worrisome side effects. Most side effects from vaccines manifest within the first 8 weeks following the last injection and, as a result, we’ll have a better idea if Pfizer’s vaccine is the cure-all we’ve been waiting for towards the end of the year.
In the interim, some of the 43,000 volunteers who enrolled in Pfizer’s vaccine study have revealed a few minor side effects they experienced shortly after getting the vaccine. From what we’ve seen thus far, the side effects include headaches and muscle aches. One volunteer likened the experience to having a “severe hangover” while adding the discomfort didn’t last terribly long
The Independent adds:
Another volunteer, a 45-year-old woman from Missouri identified as Carrie, said she experienced fever, a headache and body aches after she received her first injection, which she compared to those of a flu injection, with the flu-like side effects reportedly worse after she received her second injection.
Commenting on the matter, a Pfizer executive this week likened the side effects from the coronavirus vaccine to mild flu to the extent that it can cause a fever and body aches. That notwithstanding, there don’t appear to be any significant side effects reported to date.
So while Pfizer’s vaccine is promising, there are still a few unanswered questions. For starters, it’s too early to know how long the vaccine will protect someone against the coronavirus. Second, and as Dr. Fauci explained this week, it remains to be seen if the vaccine is effective across multiple age groups.
Regardless, it’s nice to finally have some promising coronavirus news given that the pandemic is liable to get even worse over the next few weeks.